The River Tay and Arbroath 25.5. - 28.5.

  • Posted on: 8 June 2014
  • By: Eve

Our plan was to sail 112 nautical miles directly to Peterhead when the weather forecast was showing light winds from south-east. However, out at sea the wind was from north-east, directly on the nose and running against the waves was extremely uncomfortable. We should arrive in Peterhead during the wee hours. Because of the unpleasant waves Andrus started to look for alternatives on a chart and Reeds Almanac.

The port of Arbroath is accessible only during +-3 hours of a high water and they open the gate only during the harbour office hours. So the Arbroath was out of question. The other harbours in the area were drying at a low water. This is something we have had to consider many times on the east coast of England and Scotland. Even if we are sailing near the coast it is really more like sailing on an open ocean as it would not be possible to approach many of the harbours during the low water or onshore swell. Fortunately Andrus found the river Tay and it looked like there would be some mooring balls and anchorages as well. There was a small marina at Tayport as well but it would also dry at the low water.
Tayport marina
We arrived at the Tay entrance on the low water and all the sand that had arrived by the river was making the entrance even more shallow. The swell from the sea was breaking heavily on some spots. When adding the wind against the tide all the ingredients for heavy rolling were together. We had the mainsail sheeted to the centre for helping in stabilizing the boat, but still it was two hours of quite a rolling before the river calmed down.
Lighthouse on the shore of the river Tay
River Tay in Scotland
The anchorage is located behind the river bend about 10 miles upriver from the entrance in front of the Woodhaven village. After passing the Tay River Bridge there are two charted underwater cables. There are mooring balls for smaller boats on the south side of the river or there own anchoring gear can be used. There is a good holding in a sandy bottom. What a peaceful and protected cove we found there. The hills protected us from the north-east wind. We slept like a babies after uncomfortable nights in the swell of Port Edgar.
Woodhaven on the shore of the river Tay
In the morning we had a pleasant surprise as we got a welcome message to our email from the house in front of we had anchored.
Welcome Suwena!
How unusual to see a Finnish flag in the Tay! You have chosen a lovely spot to anchor – if you are on deck a little later, watch out for the otters who sometimes are out fishing at twilight.
Best wishes and enjoy your journey
Sara – from the house you are alongside.

For the first time at sea our water tank was almost empty. That was annoying because we'd loved to put the dinghy down and explore the river Tay. Now we had a few hours trip to Arbroath, which gate was conveniently opening as well. We lifted the anchor and turned the bow towards Arbroath which is famous for smoked fish.

At sea there were a few dolphins playing alongisde Suwena. They made great jumps and we wondered that maybe they are a couple as they were swimming so close to each other.
Dolphins next to Suwena on the North Sea
Fortunately we were approaching Arbroath during the daytime. During the last few miles there was a huge maze of fishing nets. Andrus was pondering several times: "Where can I pass these nets as there is no space between them". After zig-zaging for quite a time we entered the harbour. Now at least we know from where the Arbroath Smokies are coming from.
Making of the Arbroath Smokies
This marina was again clean, cosy and well maintained. Arbroath by itself seemed like an idyllic fishing town. We also should not forget that Arbroath is located in the county of Angus, where the breed of the world famous Scottish Aberdeen Angus have been breed. We can definitely recommend Aberdeen Angus stakes if you can find them.
Suwena in the marina of Arbroath
For not getting this story into too much about food we have to talk about the drinking as well. On Monday evening during the evening walk we were catched by the rain and we decided to step inside a local watering hole called the Pageant. What we found was a nice public house where already at the door was a sign: no music. There was a relaxed feeling in a pub when people were chatting while having a pint and solving crosswords. We were quickly assimilated. Now that we were in Scotland of course the whiskey became the discussion topic and soon we got a lecture about different types of scotch. We were probably so eager listeners that suddenly the barowner Colin got a Whiskey Bible from the bookshelf and gave it to us as a gift. In the book there are over a thousand different whiskeys tasted and reviewed. Now we have a few weeks time to read the bible so we can stop at the best whiskey distilleries pontoons :-)